All I want is to get my food with a minimum of hassle.
Does that seem so hard?
Its late, I am in a shady section of town. (Not “hanging out”, I was on my way home.)
And going thru the drive thru is a bad idea as a general idea, add to that the freak factor of this part of town and you have a crappy bubble of potential discomfort that just kind of knots up on you like Thai food at 4 in the morning.
(Incidentally, Thai food at 4 in the morning is one of the conditions that led to the invention of the term “Quacker shits”)
It began at the drive thru menu/speaker.
I had just given my order when he appeared.
A tall black man, dressed a little roughly, homeless chic if you will.
“Got any change for a brother?”
Polite works with me, but like most things with me, there is a stupid mental game involved.
He has to take no for an answer.
Childish and slightly chickenshit, but I am good with it.
“Nope, can’t help you, pal.”
All he has to do is remain silent for half a minute or say a polite thank you and the two dollar bills I am holding are his.
Clear as day, I can hear him from 10 feet away.
“Motherfuckin cheap white bastard!”
Muttering can carry further than whispering in some cases.
I put the money away, there is no excuse for being rude. (I suppose that does go both ways.)
The line moves up and I am behind a car with political bumper stickers.
A lot of them.
It always amazes me the amount of ignorance that can be contained on the rear end of 1 25 year old car.
But, before I can get into the sticker fest ahead of me, a bird has appeared outside my drivers side window.
If the bird was hooked on meth and was routinely scratching holes in its head.
“Got a dollar for me, just a dollar?”
This is said as she goes by at a fast walk.
The woman was old, or maybe just homeless old. (30 that looks like 70. Meth is like that.)
And she didn’t slow down to see if I was getting a dollar out for her.
She is the type that works on quantity, not quality.
Her theory must be that I will chase her down to give her the buck.
No game to be played her, she is gone before I can set my silly rules on the situation.
The line moves up and I find myself in front of the drive up window.
Like most fast food places in shady parts of town, this one uses the blast door method of money collection and food delivery.
A sliding box made out of 2 inch thick plexiglass comes out to take my money, along with a scratchy speaker that tells me my total in pidgin English.
I deposit my dollars and the box rolls back.
My change and food come sliding back out a few minutes later.
I take both and roll up my window, lest the bird comes back and start to roll out of the drive thru lane, my mission here is done.
And there, at the end of the lane, off to the left, stands a homeless guy holding a sign.
“Hungry, need some help.”
In hockey, they call this a “Hat Trick”, scoring three times in one game.
I roll my window down.
“Don’t have anything for you, bud.” I roll by real slow.
“Thats ok, God bless.”
I stop the car and give him two dollars.
I may be an asshole, but you have to follow the rules of the game.